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The Glass Wall: Why Mathematics Can Seem Difficult

3.06  ·  Rating details ·  16 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
What makes mathematics understandable?What makes mathematics confusing?

Could something be wrong with the way mathematics is taught?

Following his years of studying human intellectual accomplishments such as language, reading, writing, thinking, and learning, Frank Smith now turns his critical lens on the teaching and learning of mathematics. In The Glass Wall, Smith helps u
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Paperback, 165 pages
Published July 28th 2002 by Teachers College Press (first published July 2002)
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Trevor
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Last year I did an elective in literacy and numeracy that I found breathtakingly interesting. To be honest, I had thought I would get much more out of the literacy half of the course and would more or less sleep though the numeracy section. Most other ‘numeracy’ subjects I have done in the past have tended to be about teaching people how to make estimates that are better than ‘wild guesses’ or to find ways to figure out how many basketballs might fit in a classroom. I don’t believe all study sho ...more
Greg
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
This is my first go-around with works by Frank Smith, but I'm encouraged to try some of his other books as well. I'm an educator with a daughter who has math anxieties and what her school is potentially labeling "deficiency." I was hoping to change this with her and find some strategies in this book. Smith does not really give any strategies or concrete advice to help those who have difficulty with math, which is a bit disappointing, but the book is still packed with thought-provoking ways to ap ...more
Tim
Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
One the plus side, this is a quick and easy read. One the other hand, Holmes would surely call it elementary. I kept waiting for the page upon which I would encounter a concept that I didn't learn by sixth grade, but then the book ended. To be fair, it seems the author aimed the book at those (like himself, he says) that had struggled with mathematics as a student. The author doesn't "presume to declare how mathematics should be taught," but merely to suggest reasons why some students might find ...more
Mary Taylor
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have read several books on reading by this author and when other books leave my shelves his always stay and are reread. I always had trouble with math as a child. In the classroom, I see why most students still are turned off by math, because we approach not from a practical subject, but from formulas to be used over and over. As a person who knits, sews, weaves, crochets and paints I know the practical side of math. Frank Smith explains well where we go wrong in teaching. More teachers need t ...more
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Frank Smith is a contemporary psycholinguist recognized for his contributions in linguistics and cognitive psychology, both nationally and internationally, over the past 35 years. He is regarded as an essential contributor to research on the nature of the reading process together with researchers such as George Armitage Miller, Kenneth S. Goodman (see Ken Goodman), Paul A. Kolers, Jane W. Torrey, ...more
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